Manchester United fans want the club to make Jurrien Timber their top centre-back target this summer.
Erik ten Hag witnessed first-hand the rebuild he has on his hands after taking charge of United this summer as he watched his new slide slip to yet another dismal defeat on the final day of the season on Sunday. The 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace was a fitting end to the club’s worst-ever Premier League campaign.
United’s squad is in dire need of strengthening as it is before you even consider the several departures that are in store. Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard and Nemanja Matic are all set to leave when their contracts expire while Lee Grant has hung up his gloves and taken up a coaching role at Ipswich. Juan Mata is also likely to be released, though there is still room for him to stay depending on the outcome of talks with Ten Hag.
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Additionally, Dean Henderson is closing in on a move to Newcastle, Aaron Wan-Bissaka is free to leave and the futures of Cristiano Ronaldo, Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and even Marcus Rashford are all up in the air. A lot of signings are going to have to be made to offset so many outgoings, especially as the new manager will be looking to stamp his identity onto the side.
Two midfielders are the priority but a striker, right-back, winger and centre-back could all be needed as well. With the underwhelming displays of Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane this past year and with Jones and Bailly free to leave, centre-back has become an important position to reinforce.
Despite spending over £100million in recent years on Maguire and Varane, United’s defence remained porous throughout the campaign and contributed to the side’s embarrassing final goal difference of zero. United fans already know who they want the club to sign to strengthen the backline.
MEN Sport asked supporters which centre-back should United sign this summer and the overwhelming winner with 65 per cent of the 5,940 votes was Timber. Ten Hag has been heavily linked with bringing the versatile defender with him to Old Trafford after he played a crucial role in Ajax’s title win this past season.
Though only 20, Timber made 43 appearances across all competitions and impressed with his reading of the game, distribution of all the ball and capability to play anywhere across the back. The Dutchman is said to be available at a reasonable price and fans are desperate for him to arrive in Manchester.
In second place came Villarreal’s Pau Torres with 29 per cent of the vote. United have had a long-term interest in the Spaniard and were tracking him last season before completing the signing of Varane instead. MEN Sport understands that United have revived their interest in Torres, who has a buy-out clause of around €60million (£51m) in his contract. However, United’s lack of Champions League football may be off-putting.
In joint-third came Sporting’s Goncalo Inacio with just three per cent of the vote. The 20-year-old has been linked with United in recent days and has been touted as the ‘new Ruben Dias’ in some corners of the media. The final three per cent of voters opted for ‘other’ with Alessandro Bastoni and Sven Botman among the names suggested.
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